Monday, 18 February 2013

Citizen Journalism: My thoughts on why we need it

Social media has allowed everyday citizens to become authors, editors, and publishers of news and information.  Do you believe that social media has increased the quality of news and information or decreased it?

I Greatly believe that because of social media, the quality of new and information that is available to everyone  has increased, but only because of the ability to discuss what we read or hear with other people online.  There are many reasons I believe this, examples include the new ways in which we interpret news and articles.

   Before social media, A news corporation would break a story, it would be published in a magazine, aired on the TV  etc. But most of the time readers would not  be able to have access to all the context in it and go with what the magazine or news channel said and treat it as fact. The News Coverage of the New town School Massacre is an excellent example of this. During the first part of the day when the shooting took place, lots of  news channels were covering it every hour of every second. When police revealed that an id was found on the shooter, the media instantly broadcasting that it had found the identity of the shooter. This of course was not true. The perpetrator of the shooting (Adam Lanza) was carrying his brothers id on him (Robert Lanza). But by the time the news channels revealed the heading "Shooter's ID of Robert Lanza the damage had already been done. Many people went around carrying on about the shooter being "Robert Lanza. People harassed and spammed his Facebook, wrote horrible things about him online, pictures of him were circulating the web labeling him the killer because all the news outlets said the killer had that ID on him. Even more ridiculous is that on Robert Lanza's Facebook page, he 'Liked' a couple of different video games, spawning people to start criticizing the developers of those video games. Because revealing the name of the shooter was deemed more interesting than revealing that they were mistaken, they downplayed the part where Adam Lanza was the actually shooter. But Since I get my news online thorugh sites like reddit, the tail of events can get updated in every few minutes, were people who post new info and links to verify them make it to the top of the page and are visible to everyone.

 If there was a more social element to news story's like how on a news site a journalist can post a article labeled "possible cure for cancer found?" People that are part of the community can post a discussion about it on the site and explain the the reader why that journalist is full of shit and over exaggerating the story and posted the misleading title for views. 

When I read an article online, I never trust the author of the article with out seeing if its nonsense or misleading is by discussing it with others and come to a consensus about it. The way I see it is that journalism on TV and Magazines is usually garbage, and that when you give the average citizen a voice and let people's articles be open to criticism by everyone, It can improve the content of what the reader gets. If i see something on tv news about something and they are being misleading or using unverified info, I have to no way of showing the person who is currently watching it that what there saying is misleading and isn't the whole story. It is much easier through social media where everyone can be a journalist and no one has blind trust in one person who labels themselves a journalist.

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